Tag Archives: Toyota

The URL: Getting To Know You

The URL. Uniform Resource Locator. A web address that typically includes the type of file, location of web server, path of the file and file name.

It’s easy to take the URL for granted and forget just how important a role the URL plays. Such is the case when monitoring consumer-generated word-of-mouth (WOM) and providing analytics that can be applied to solving complex business problems.  I’m not just referring to locating meaningful content but identifying sources that consumers consistently go to as part of their shopping process. 
  

In an earlier post, I alluded to the importance of the URL in identifying specific online forums, notably those that consumers went to for automotive reviews.   For example www.truckforums.com is a review site for truck enthusiasts. Other sites are specific to certain brands, product categories or applications.

At the analytic level, links can be classified this way: Segment/Mid-Size, Brand/Ford, Nameplate/Taurus, Competition/Toyota Camry, Attribute/Reliability. The key is to know which URLs generate most of the rich content. In effect, what is your “Top Ten” URL inventory? If you are using a monitoring service, have them provide a comprehensive URL list, in descending order of magnitude of brand conversations as classification data.

Some of the analytical applications might include knowing which brands or product categories are discussed the most on line and where; segmentation analysis of consumers who visit certain types of sites e.g. technical vs. lifestyle; comparing sentiment across sites to understand positive or negative drivers of brand perception. On the managerial side, knowing where brands are discussed most often on the web will provide insight into where consumers are exerting material influence.

This high level view just scratches the surface. Like being at the theatre, while we are focused on the stage, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM
                                                                                                                                                               
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Toyota’s Troubles: Real-Time Memory Loss

There is a lot of media hype of late concerning the series of recalls that Toyota has undertaken. While some of the numbers may be staggering, recalls are quite routine. One site, http://www.autorecalls.us/ enables you to search any make or model, from Porche and Bentley to that paragon of quality, Mercedes-Benz. The NHTSA has a database of defects and recalls http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/.

Here are some notable recalls that other manufacturers have undertaken in the past 6 years, according to Reuters via Yahoo Finance:

2004 – GM recalled nearly 4 million pickups because of corroding tailgate cables.

April 2005 – GM said it was recalling more than 2 million vehicles to fix a variety of potential safety defects, most of them on cars and trucks sold in the U.S. GM said the largest of the safety actions included 1.5 million full-size pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles from the 2003 to 2005 model years with second-row seat belts that may be difficult to properly position across passengers’ hips.

Oct. 2005 – Toyota recalled about 1.41 million cars globally, including the Corolla and 15 other models, due to trouble with their headlight switching systems.

Dec. 2007 – Chrysler LLC said it would recall 575,417 vehicles as long-term wear on the gear shift assembly could cause them to shift out of park without the key in the ignition. The recall involved 2001 to 2002 model-year Dodge Dakota pickup trucks, Durango sports utility vehicles and Ram van models and 2002 model-year Ram pickup trucks.

Aug. 2008 – GM announced a recall of 857,735 vehicles equipped with a heated windshield wiper fluid system for a potential short-circuit problem, according to federal safety regulators.

Sept. 2009 – Toyota said it would recall approximately 3.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because of floor mats that could have come loose and force down the accelerator. The problem was suspected in crashes that have killed five people.

Oct. 2009 – Ford completed a series of recalls affecting 14 million vehicles due to faulty cruise control deactivation switch. The latest recall involved some 4.5 million vehicles. The action effectively closed out a 10-year saga over the switches made by Texas Instruments that led to more than a half-dozen recalls, the automaker said.

While Toyota might not have done the best job of handling recalls in a textbook public relations fashion, they nonetheless are getting on with the job of remediating the issues.

Let’s remember, far more people get killed in the US every year by drunk drivers than by faultly automobiles. According to the NHTSA drunk driving deaths (11,773) accounted for 32% of the total amount of United States car accident deaths (37,261) in 2008. Prohibition is not likely to return in this millenium.

As we race about this new social world of real-time, let’s take the time to pause, get the facts together and put the real world into perspective.

Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

Why just be Social when you can have a Relationship?

Facebook "Friends"?

I must give credit to the crowds for one thing after all: if it weren’t for the popularity of Social Media, I never would have thought of the idea of Relational Media. Since I first started in the business of providing online brand monitoring  and business insight services to corporations, the Social Media “industry”, if you may call it that, has gone through many an identity crisis.

Back in 2004, we talked a lot about ‘user/consumer generated content’ (UGM/CGM). The next iteration, with much credit to the folks at WOMMA, was to bring some structure and definition to this emerging media, so the term WOM – Word of Mouth Marketing, came into the lexicon. Lately it’s been called “Social Media”, largely defined (and some will,  of course, disagree with this definition) as the use of online software applications such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to be ‘social’ with many, without necessarily having to be bothered with the responsibilities inherent in a Relationship (dating sites might disagree here).

Lifetime Relationship

As many of us have witnessed, there has been so much hand-wringing, whining, debate and general consternation by agencies, PR firms, evangelists and self-styled social media artistes about  making Social Media work, period, never mind the monetization aspect. My steely resolve has been to deal with Social Media head on: call it Relational Media.

Why you ask? Well, it comes down to Human nature. We all crave, to some extent, love, recognition and respect.

Brands also feel this way as they seek to initially be social with people but eventually want to head to the altar and be your mate for life.  Is that not what Customer Lifetime Value is all about – attracting, retaining and developing profitable customers for life? Minute Maid, Crest, Toyota, Land’s End, Timex, Apple, Lufthansa, Marriott and many other brands don’t just want you to browse an end-of-aisle display or take a test drive, they want you to take them home.

We do this every day. I’ve used Tide because my mother did. I’ve been drinking Coca-Cola since I was a kid. I always stay at a Marriott property when I travel on business. I’ve worn Brooks Brothers button-down oxcloth shirts since I went to college… you get the picture.

So, there it is. Simple. Media that enables brands to build a relationship – packaging, television, conversations, the Internet or a coupon, whatever – not just a speed date. Relational media is an enabler of Customer Relationship Management

It’s great to be part of the crowd but it’s even better when you can have a friend for life. Relational Media.